News / Middle East

US: Hezbollah Dominance in Lebanon Would be 'Problematic'

Angry Sunni protesters react as they hold posters showing the slain former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad Hariri, who they support, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, 24 Jan 2011
Angry Sunni protesters react as they hold posters showing the slain former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad Hariri, who they support, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, 24 Jan 2011

The United States warned Monday that a dominate role in the next Lebanese government for the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement would be "problematic" for U.S.-Lebanon relations. Hezbollah has long been on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

U.S. officials are closely monitoring the political maneuvering in Beirut, and they are serving notice that the larger the role Hezbollah has in a new government, the more difficult it will be for the U.S.- Lebanon relationship.

The United States strongly supported the fallen government of the now-caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the U.N.-backed international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal issued a long-awaited, but still secret, indictment in the case last week and Hezbollah figures are widely expected to be named in it.

The United States has long listed the pro-Iran Shi'ite militia and political party as a terrorist organization, blaming it for two 1980s bomb attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

With a Hezbollah-backed candidate, businessman Najib Mikati, emerging as the likely successor to Saad Hariri, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States will reserve judgment until a new government is formed. He made clear, however,  U.S. apprehension about a broader Hezbollah role.

"We’ll wait to see what the government looks like, who is involved in that government, and what the policies of that government will be, and we’ll evaluate what the impact on our relationship will be," said Crowley. "All I’m saying, which is obvious, is that we have great concerns about Hezbollah. We see it as a terrorist organization. And the larger the role played by Hezbollah in this government, the more problematic it is for the relationship between the United States and Lebanon."

Crowley said it is "hard to imagine" any new Lebanese government being truly representative of the entire country if it backs away from its support of the Hariri tribunal, as Hezbollah has demanded.

He said the United States wants to see a government that serves the interests of the Lebanese people and not the government of another country - an apparent reference to Iran, which helped found and supports Hezbollah.

Crowley said there is every indication that the ongoing deliberations in Beirut are in line with the country’s constitutional process and that the United States would not want to see any factions resort to violence.

Hezbollah members, who took to the streets in previous cabinet crises in 2006 and 2008, have staged marches in recent days.  Some Hariri supporters have accused Hezbollah of, in effect, staging a coup, and have called for a "day of anger" protest Tuesday.

Because of Hezbollah’s terrorist listing by the United States, the rise of a government dominated by the group could jeopardize U.S. aid for Lebanon.

The United States has been aiding the Lebanese armed forces as a counterweight to Hezbollah, a program that is unpopular among Congressional Republicans and some Democrats.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid